Friday, December 19, 2014

Review: Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff

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Title: The Boleyn King (The Boleyn Trilogy #1)
Author:
Jay Kristoff
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (Macmillan)
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Acquired Via:
Personal Collection

A SHATTERED EMPIRE
The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The toxic blood lotus flower continues to ravage the land, the deadlands splitting wider by the day. The machine-worshippers of the Lotus Guild conspire to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously - by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.

A DARK LEGACY
Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.

A GATHERING STORM
Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.

The ghosts of a blood-stained past.


My Review

You can read my review of the first book, Stormdancer HERE.

I put off reading Kinslayer until this year because, to me, there is nothing worse than reading the middle book of a trilogy and being stuck with a huge cliffhanger for a year. So if there was a cliffhanger (and I think there was), I didn't really notice because I only had to wait like three days for Endsinger.

Speaking of putting things off - I've been sitting on this review for about two weeks because I just didn't know where to take it. I almost did a review style similar to that of Stormdancer, but my love for Kinslayer is too serious for that. Kristoff's writing is beautiful, and his world-building and character-creating skills are cemented in my mind forever after reading this novel.

You can read a lot of Kinslayer reviews and be told how awesome Michi is (she is), find out about Yukiko's problems (she has more than ninety-nine), and be told that you will fall in love with Hana and Daken. It's great to have all of these badass females in one book. However, the most spectacular part of the novel (I'm trying to be spoiler-free) comes when Yukiko goes looking for information about the Kenning and why it's going crazy on her. Let me just say that I was driving alone at night while I was listening to that part, and I almost turned off the audiobook because it was creeping me the hell out. Almost. You know, because this book was too good to put down.

I expected to be devastated while reading Kinslayer based on other reviews, but it wasn't too awful. I mean yes, my heart was stomped, smashed, and salted as I went through the book, but there was no ugly tears. Oh, and just so you know - I fell in love with Kin in the last book, and my mind hasn't changed about him. So bite me.

I could also go on about the political and environmental aspects of The Lotus War, but that would really make me tired. And it would feel like you're reading my book report, but it's there. Wily Jay Kristoff sneaks in smart things and makes you question the way we're treating our own world. I bet he's a sly Kitsune fox himself.

I've recommended this series to a lot of people, and I haven't had anyone come back and hit me with the books yet. Well, I have had some irate people jump my case because we don't have Endsinger at the library yet, but that's not my fault. Anywho, I don't care what kind of books you like, you should read these. They're high quality and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Oh, and just so you know - "Kinslayer" isn't what I thought it was. It probably isn't what you think it is either. If you want to know, you'll have to read the book.

- 4.5/5 Stars -

Buy Links
Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fishpond




Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review: Bringer of Light by J.R. Boles

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Title: Bringer of Light (Bringer Trilogy #1)
Author:
J.R. Boles
Publisher: Self
Release Date: October 3, 2014
Acquired Via:
Author

For generations, the kingdom of Arten has stood alone against the ancient dark mage Mercer, a man no longer bound by time. But when King Wern is kidnapped, Queen Arin will risk everything to get him back.

Lynden Trenadin is chosen to join the ranks of the elite Queen's Champions both for her prowess as a warrior and her remarkable resemblance to the queen. She has spent her life battling at Arten's borders, but now she must defend the queen with her life as they journey to their enemy's castle. When the tide of battle goes against them, Lynden unleashes a magical power she didn't know she possessed. Even though she saved hundreds of warriors, Lynden is forced to flee in shame for her use of forbidden magic.

Now on the run, Lynden must raise a rebellion to free her country from the tyranny of the enemy she thought she'd destroyed. A band of loyalists and an enclave of ancient mages aid her in her efforts, but with a dark mage bent on her destruction, Lynden must discover a way to harness her new magic before it is too late.


My Review

I decided to read Bringer of Light because the author described it as an epic fantasy with a strong female character. Bringer of Light started out strongly, but lost itself a little along the way. There were several elements I liked, some I disliked, but nothing that I hated or loved.

Lynden's role, both as a Champion and her larger role in the story, was one of the most interesting aspects of Bringer of Light. Arten is a seemingly matriarchal society ruled by a queen. As Champion, Lynden protects the queen as a warrior, but also as a doppelgänger. I found it really interesting that all of the queen's champions look like her, yet also are trained as warriors to protect her. I wish that this element would have been expanded in the story a bit more.

The beginning is full of action, as the king is kidnapped by the neighboring evil wizard, and the queen and her champions rush off to retrieve him (I never found out why the queen went to retrieve the king. Wouldn't they have wanted to avoid both sovereigns being in the hands of the enemy?). Because of said evil wizard, magic is strictly forbidden in Arten. So, of course, Lynden uses magic to save the queen, the king and hundred of others, but is still forced to flee.

While Lynden is exiled there is a lull to the story, because not much information is imparted to either Lynden or the reader. The story gets much better again toward the end when information starts to trickle in, and the reader learns more about the magic and the world. The strength of the story at the beginning and the end and the author's creative combination of a lot of fantasy tropes are what make me want to read the sequel.

Another issue I had with Bringer of Light was the romance. It just never felt right. First, there might have been a love triangle, but it's hard to tell. Lynden acts like friends with both Jonathen and Roan , and there's no sort of wooing or courtship. Then, there is suddenly, out of the blue, kissing. I would have much rather have been reading about the really cool champions or Seren, the healer mage.

Bringer of Light was a promising start to a new epic fantasy, with a lot of rough edges. I'm willing to stick around and read the next one to see if they get ironed out. I'm rating this 3 stars because I liked the story and there are some really interesting, strong female characters that I hope get a lot of character development in the sequel. The lull in the middle and the weird romance almost made this less than 3 stars.

- 3/5 Stars -

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fishpond | iUniverse




Waiting on Wednesday (85): Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

2 comments:

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



Title: Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1)
Author:
Rachel Caine
Publisher: NAL (Penguin)
Release Date: July 7, 2015

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time...

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn...



I would have been interested in anything that Rachel Caine writes, but this book just makes me bubble with excitement. The Great Library of Alexandria! Book burning! Oppression of books! Plus, the cover is just gorgeous

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read in 2014

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014



1. Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?



Sarah Maas really stepped up the game in this third installment. I really liked Throne of Glass, but Heir of Fire completely surpassed my every expectation.



2. Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels #7) by Ilona Andrews

No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it...

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear....



There hasn't been an Ilona Andrews book I haven't liked, and the latest Kate Daniels book is no exception.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Review: Tides of Maritinia by Warren Hammond

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Title: Tides of Maritinia
Author:
Warren Hammond
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse (HarperCollins)
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Acquired Via:
Publisher

Maritinia is at the far edge of the Empire, a planet with little economic value in the Sire's sphere of influence.

And it's just rebelled.


The people of Maritinia believe the Empire will not care that they've broken free. But the Empire is built on the belief that if an insignificant planet can revolt, then other, more important planets might follow suit.

So the Empire sends an agent to Maritinia with a mission: assassinate and replace one of the conspirators, and do enough to sow discord that when the soldiers do land, any opposition will be quickly crushed.

Thus Jakob finds himself immersed in the inner circle of the madman who led the rebellion. A raw recruit with only his political officer—a separate consciousness inserted into his brain—to speak with, Jakob is out of his element as an operative. And while he falls deeper into the conspiracy, he begins to question everything: the despotic admiral in charge of the coup, his feelings for a native woman, and—most troublingly—whether he still agrees with the will of the Sire.


My Review

I love me some science fiction, and I was really wanting something with a huge galactic empire after reading Golden Son. When I saw the synopsis for Tides of Maritinia, I was so excited by the premise. Who doesn't like galactic rebellions, assassins, and a narrator questioning everything?

Unfortunately, it all fell short for me in Tides of Maritinia.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Review: Breeding Ground by Joquena Lomelino

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Title: Breeding Ground (Breeding Ground Saga #1)
Author:
Joquena Lomelino
Publisher: Self
Release Date: April 28, 2014
Acquired Via:
Author

Lenora was just a normal teenage girl who never really cared much about her parents’ work as scientists. Everything changed the day they died in a mysterious explosion. Now Lenora is alone with no time to grieve because her own life is being threatened. Whatever her parents were working on there are people willing to kill for it, and they don’t believe that Lenora has no idea what it is.

Shot up and facing certain death, Lenora is rescued by a strange seductive man who explains her parents’ top secret research to expose aliens living on Earth. An elixir reveals snake-like aliens disguised as humans are taking over the planet, and Lenora must decide if she can depend upon the stranger who violated her trust. Armed with sarcasm, her parents’ research, and an ally she loathes, Lenora must continue her parents’ work to expose the alien threat and save the Earth before it’s too late.


My Review

Days before her 18th birthday, Lenora Gates ignores her parents’ wish to meet them after school for an important message. Instead, she hangs out with her friend Rachel, who just discovered she is pregnant. When Lenora returns to Rachel’s house after a movie, Rachel’s mom delivers devastating news. Lenora’s parents died in an accidental explosion.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Review: The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen

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Title: The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act (The Wicked + The Divine #1-5)
Authors:
Kieron Gillen (writer); Jamie McKelvie (Illustrator); Matt Wilson (Colorist)
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: November 12, 2014
Acquired Via: NetGalley

Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.

My Review

The Wicked + The Divine was everything I wanted in a graphic novel. The art is gorgeous, and the writing has just the right amount of snark for me. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act combines the first five issues into one collection. The second arc will begin with issue 6 which will be published on December 17, 2014.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Review: Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

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Title: Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence #1)
Author:
Max Gladstone
Publisher: Tor Books (Macmillan)
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Acquired Via:
Library

A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.

Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.

Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.

When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.

Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.


My Review

I've had a really good run of fantasy lately, and Three Parts Dead is no exception. I wasn't really sure if I'd like it at first, because normally necromancy isn't something I enjoy, but the story is less necromancy than the blurb implies. I picked up Three Parts Dead because Patrick Rothfuss wrote a glowing review, and we need more diversity in writing anyway, so I was ecstatic that the main character was a black girl.